It’s that time of year again. The television commercials are starting to reflect a feeling of the holidays, Christmas decorations can be found in store aisles and pretty soon kids will be making out their wish lists.

That’s why the recent 17th Annual ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education) of Iowa District 21 Toys For Tots Ride is so important. Held Sunday, the ride kicked off the local Toys For Tots drive that collects toys as Christmas gifts for needy children in the area.

From Eagle Point Park, the riders traveled south down Second Street to Seventh Avenue South, west on Camanche Avenue and north on the Mill Creek Parkway. From there, the riders headed east on 13th Avenue North to Second Street and across the North Bridge, into downtown Fulton, Ill., and ended the ride at The Outpost, at the intersection of Penrose Road and Illinois 84.

Once at The Outpost, motorcyclists filled several tables with toys including stuffed animals, dolls, remote control vehicles, games, sports equipment and electronic instruments.

Through Dec. 15, Toys For Tots donations will be accepted at The Outpost, The Brown Dog Saloon, 1112 Fourth St., Fulton; and Lyons Tap, 224 Main Ave., Clinton. Toys should be new and may be in their original packaging but not wrapped as a gift. Toys are needed for boys and girls of all ages. Donations benefit children in Clinton and Jackson counties in Iowa and Whiteside and Carroll counties in Illinois. Any and all donations are appreciated.

This is one of many such toy drives that will take place; each year others also collect for Toys for Tots and the Victory Center Rescue Mission’s annual Christmas festivities. And there’s the Caring Tree and other such projects that allow residents to buy presents for a little one.

Here’s hoping that those who can get involved as donators will and it must be noted that we’re thankful to those who organize, collect and distribute toys to make the holidays merry and bright for those in need.